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Media Release Thursday 19th October 1995

Flawed Research Underestimates Lead Problem

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7% of Australian children are lead-poisoned, according to preliminary results of a National Blood Lead survey to be announced at the Australian Medical Association National Forum tomorrow (Friday 20 October).

In numerical terms this represents some 83,000 children.

However, the national community action group, The LEAD Group believes that this may be an under-estimation of the true extent of the problem .

The LEAD Group questions the research findings and points to serious flaws in the research methodology.

Elizabeth O’Brien, national director of The LEAD Group said "In order to be statistically valid, over 4,000 blood samples would need to be collected in representative communities across the country. The LEAD Group believes that the Australian Bureau of Statistics door-knockers only managed to convince 1,666 parents to allow their children to be tested."

"By contrast, lead researchers who did the door-knocking for an area pilot study in 1992 in inner Sydney, managed to convince 94% of parents to allow their 1-4 year old child to be tested. Fully 50% of these children were found to be lead poisoned" said Ms O’Brien.

The LEAD Group calls on the AMA to take this opportunity to make lead poisoning notifiable so that a more accurate assessment of the number of chilren affected can be made, and resources concentrated in areas where they are most needed.

Contact Elizabeth O’Brien 02 9716 0014. ###

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Last Updated 08 March 2012
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